Ultimate Fighting Championship
UFC 129: St. Pierre-Shields
Saturday, April 30, 2011, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: Pay-per-view
Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Arguably, the best pound for pound fighter in the world, UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre returns to his home country to fight Jake Shields in the main event for UFC 129 Saturday night. The Featherweight title is also on the line as champion Jose Alto takes on Mark Hominick. Also MMA legend Randy Couture takes on Lyoto Machida in a light heavyweight battle. Let’s take a look at those three fights plus the other two on the main card. All odds are courtesy of bookmaker.
Vladimir “the Janitor” Matyushenko (-115) vs. Jason “the Himan” Brilz (-115) Light Heavyweight Bout, 3 Rounds
The 40 year old Belarusian Matyushenko is 20-5 in his career. Three of his last 4 defeats have come at the hands of current or former UFC champions. Matushenko takes on the 35 year old American Jason Brilz who has a record of 18-3-1. Both these fighters have wrestling backgrounds and styles, but Brilz is better at striking. Brilz is coming off a split decision loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira that many thought Brilz won. Matyushenko also has a loss to Nogueira in his career in 2009. He lost to current light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones in August of 2010, but rebounded with a first round TKO of Alexandre Ferreira three months later.
I don’t think the 40 year Matyushenko has much left in his career, but he could certainly surprise.
BRILZ BY DECISION
Benson “Smooth” Henderson (-120) vs Mark Bocek (-110) Lightweight Bout, 3 Rounds
Benson Henderson is 12 -2 in his MMA career. The 28 year old Glendale, AZ native takes on Mark Bocek, who is 29 and has a 9-3 record. A Toronto native, Bocek is fighting in his home town. Henderson is better at wrestling, but he is developing his submission and striking skills. Both have really good conditioning and this should be an excellent fight between two up and comers. Bocek is more workmanlike in his style. Bocek must watch out for Hendersons’ transitions. Henderson is so quick that he is almost submission proof, but submissions are Boceks specialty.
Henderson is making his UFC debut, but this is a good match-up for him. Bocek can’t beat him standing up. Henderson will use his speed and aggression to beat Bocek
HENDERSON BY SUBMISSION IN THE SECOND
Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (-350) vs Randy “The Natural” Couture (+280) Light Heavyweight Bout, 3 Rounds
The ageless wonder Couture is 47 years old and has a 19-10 record in MMA. The Oregon native takes on the 32 year old Brazilian Lyoto Machida. Machida is 16-2 in his career. Machida has lost his last two fights to Quinton Jackson and Mauricio Rua after starting off his career 16-0. Couture has won his last 3 fights but hasn’t face anyone in those fights the quality of Machida. Both fighters have had long layoffs. Couture hasn’t fought since late August when he beat former boxer James Toney. Machida hasn’t fought since November 20 when he lost to Jackson.
It is difficult if not impossible to outwrestle Couture even though he only has the same five moves he has used his entire career. However, it is much like a talented basketball player that only has 3 or 4 moves. You know they are coming, but you can’t do anything to stop them.
In his two losses Machida was matched up against faster competitors who were able to negate Machida’s own speed and aggression. That won’t be an issue against the plodding Couture. Machida will win but the crafty Couture will take him the distance.
MACHIDA WINS BY DECISION
Jose “Scarface” Aldo (-465) vs Mark “The Machine” Hominick (+365) UFC Featherweight Title, 5 rounds
Jose Aldo, a 24 year old Brazilian is the featherweight champion and ranked #3 in the pound for pound rankings. Aldo is 18-1 in his career, and hasn’t lost in nearly 6 years. Aldo takes on the 20-8 Mark Hominick, who is 28 and is from nearby London, Ontario. This is the inaugural title clash in the 145 pound division, and Hominick was chosen strictly because his style meshes well with Aldo’s. Expect lots of fireworks and offense between these two.
Unfortunately, Hominick only has won way to win. That is be aggressive and attack, attack, attack!. However, that plays right into Aldo’s strengths. Aldo will take his time and hit some hard counter strikes and devastating low kicks. This will be a very short fight though exciting.
ALDO WINS BY SECOND ROUND REF STOPPAGE
Georges “Rush” St. Pierre (-410) vs Jake Shields (+310), UFC Wetlerweight Title Bout, 5 rounds
St. Pierre is #1 in the pound for pound rankings. The 29 year old Canadian is 21-2 in his career. He has won 8 straight bouts. He has dominated the welterweight division for so long that many people want him to move up to the middleweight division to challenge Anderson Silva in a superfight. However, first things first, he must not overlook his opponent Saturday night. St. Pierre takes on 32 year old San Francisco native Jake Shields for the Welterweight title. Shields is 26-4-1 in his career, and has won 15 straight bouts.He is ranked #7 in the pound for pound rankings. Shields is a former Elite XC and Strikeforce Champion.
If you compare the two St. Pierre, is better in every category except submissions. However, intense pressure is on St. Pierre because he is fighting in front of a passionate Canadian crowd.
Shields isn’t very good at stand up fighting, and only uses it to set up his signature takedown , the single leg. On the ground he uses textbook jiu-jitsu, and is very mechanical and patient.
St. Pierre will not be taken down easily. He should be able to control the range and tempo of the bout using his jab and other strikes. Shields only has one option, somehow get St. Pierre on his back and submit him. St. Pierre has many options for the win and should take care of business against a tough opponent. Shields will have his moments, but St. Pierre will be conservative in the last two rounds to hold on for the win.
ST. PIERRE WINS BY DECISION
Well, it should be a great UFC card from Toronto tonight. Enjoy the fights.